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Home > Politics

The TFT Guide To... Being A Good Dad

16 June 2006

The Department for Education came in for criticism this week after it published an information pack for fathers, yet again stating the bleeding obvious. The 'Dad Pack', apparently aimed at the feckless and the terminally stupid, contains the revelatory information that going to the playground can be fun for children, and advising against having an affair when your partner is pregnant. More worryingly, it gives the handy advice: 'Never shake a baby or child - it can cause lasting brain damage.' Here at TFT we couldn't help but think there must be more to parenting than not killing your kids, so we decided to come up with our own guide to being a good father...


1) In any construction project with your children, e.g. Lego or Meccano, you should always take complete control at the first sign of a misplaced brick or screw. On completing the task three hours later, during which time your child has been sitting bored to tears, congratulate yourself on a job well done.

2) Playing sports with your kids is a great way to get exercise and spend quality time together. More importantly, ruthlessly thrashing tiny children will enable you to pretend you were actually good at sport at school, and not in fact completely rubbish and the last to be picked for the team. Best of all, as you beat your son 23-nil at football, no one will know that there is a complex fantasy going on inside your head in which you are 14 again, head of the school team, and enjoying regular, fumbling sexual encounters with the girl in your class who everyone fancied.

3) Remember, you have failed as a father if you haven't filled your kids' heads with utter rubbish. Dad nonsense falls into three categories:

- Any fib told for your own amusement, e.g., milk comes from trees (a good father will reinforce this fib by actually hanging a milk carton from a tree in the garden, thus utterly convincing a small child, who is then regarded as a bit weird by friends and teachers);

- Any 'fact' someone told you in the pub, e.g., Princess Diana had an affair with Prince Philip, which is why the Queen had her killed;

- Any mind-bogglingly stupid urban myth, e.g., gays superglue 50p pieces to the pavement outside gay pubs so that they can run out and bum you.

4) As a father, it is vital to remind your children that they have in some way ruined your life using a none-too-subtle, passive-aggressive guilt trip. Obviously the guilt trip should be based on some unlikely fantasy from your own life, but the standard form is as follows:

'Yeah, of course I could have emigrated to Australia/become a professional footballer/started my own business, but then *you* came along. Still, I'm not bitter. Having kids is reward enough in itself. *sigh*'

5) A good dad will *never* pass up the opportunity to humiliate their children in front of their friends by recalling an incident from the distant past. Perhaps as a toddler your son proudly demonstrated his potty training success by actually picking up a shit and bringing it for you to see. This fact *must* be related in front of your son's friends, resulting in him being known, for the rest of his school life as 'Shit Boy'.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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